Mayor Garcetti announced today a second collaboration with The Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. to present the Civic University (CU). The CU emphasizes civic and community engagement and gives Angelenos the tools they need to understand city government and influence policy at City Hall.

Last year, the CU graduated 100 Angelenos in its inaugural class. This year, the program targets community members, city staff and other public officials who show potential to be advocates for their neighborhoods. Each Neighborhood Council in the City of Los Angeles will nominate one male and one female to attend this four week course, which will take place at Cal State LA later this spring.

"We cannot build a better Los Angeles without an engaged population that knows how to navigate city government," said Mayor Garcetti. "That's why the CU emphasizes civic literacy: it's not just about your vote at the ballot box, it's about making sure your elected officials are representing your interests."

Instructors will be under the supervision of Dr. Raphael Sonenshein, Executive Director of the Pat Brown Institute, and author of three books on Los Angeles politics and government. Teaching staff will be drawn from the PBI, Cal State L.A. Faculty, and the Mayor’s Office and trained by the PBI. Funding for the program has been provided by Empower LA, the city department that assists neighborhood councils, and AT&T and was created in association with the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners.

“This wonderful partnership with Mayor Garcetti speaks to the urgent need for new and powerful tools for community activism, based on a working knowledge of city hall and its access points,” said Dr. Sonenshein. “The Civic University builds community, empowers people, and encourages them to speak up, ask the tough questions, and be truly effective advocates for their neighborhoods.”

The curriculum for Civic University will include:

  • An overview of the power centers at Los Angeles City Hall
  • Who has power in the community and can influence City Hall
  • Where Neighborhood Councils fit into the governing structure of the city
  • An examination of the budget process
  • How data is developed and used at City Hall
  • The city’s election system, and how Neighborhood Councils can improve upon it
  • How to encourage positive, productive reform in local government

All participants who complete the program will receive certificates signed and presented by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Cal State L.A. President Bill Covino.